Watershed Football Club makes up most of champion team

Paul Clark
Black Mountain News
Members of the Over-50 division, nearly all local players and many from Watershed Football Club, celebrate their championship at the Beer City Cup over Labor Day weekend.

Watershed Football Club, based in the Swannanoa Valley, composed one third of the squad that won the Beer City Cup Over-50 division team.

The Beer City Cup, held over Labor Day weekend, is the largest adult soccer tournament in the United States. This year’s event attracted 96 teams competing in the Open, Over-30, Over-40, Over-50, Over-55, Women’s and Coed divisions. A team from London made this Beer City Cup tournament international for the first time.

Michael Lindsey, a member of the Watershed Football Club, was captain of the Over-50 team. A Watershed captain for a decade, he recruited for it throughout the season, looking throughout the Asheville Buncombe Adult Soccer Association teams for the strongest over-50 players. A third of the 16-man squad were from Watershed.

There was Frank Blankenship, D.C. Whitenack, Matt Schwarz, Pearce Mottershead and himself. The team’s name was Cocula Asheville, based on the name of its sponsor, a restaurant in Oteen.

“Tournaments like this, you have no chance if you play the team you’re on, so I had to put together a team of some of the best over-50 players,” Lindsey said. An Asheville team has won a Beer City Cup division for the last several years – some years they’ve won more than one – but this year the Over-50 team was the only division winner.

Cocula Asheville had to win five games in its 16-team division to take the cup. It beat Atlanta’s A and B teams, Nashville’s number-one team, another middle Tenneessee team and a team Louisville, Kentucky. Cocula Asheville had only one close game, a 2-1 victory over Nashville. It outscored opponents 26-4.

Drawing heavily upon the Watershed Football Club was a no-brainer, given its high caliber of talent, Lindsey said. Watershed has won several over-40 first-division championships in the Asheville Buncombe Adult Soccer Association, which now has 18 over-40 teams. ABASA is North Carolina’s second-largest adult soccer association, behind one in the Raleigh-Durham area. ABASA has nearly 1,000 players now, Lindsey said.

The Beer City Cup is “a pretty big deal,” he said. It attracts teams from more than a dozen states, all of them from strong soccer markets. This year’s tournament had “perfect beer drinking weather,” he said.